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The new suite of Callaway Chrome Soft golf balls offer an array of performance characteristics and feels. Meaningful distinctions between each model.
For 2021, Callaway has not only revamped their two existing Chrome Soft golf balls, they’ve added a third model. The Chrome Soft X LS gets its name from its Low Spin performance. I was eager to test the three models head to head to see how much difference recreational golfers can expect to find.
Callaway rates Chrome Soft as “Softer” and other two as “Soft.” Off the putter, I found this to be accurate. The Chrome Soft remains one of the softest Tour balls – it creates a dull “thud” at impact and has a bit of that low compression feel. Neither the Chrome Soft X nor the Chrome Soft X LS has the compressive feel off the putter, and both make a crisper sound on contact. After many putts, I felt that the Chrome Soft X is slightly firmer than the LS, but it’s an extremely modest difference.
With wedges and irons, that split between Chrome Soft and the X and LS remains. Chrome Soft creates a gentle impact sensation and a low pitched sound. The Chrome Soft X and Chrome Soft LS are noticeably louder, creating a crisp, snappy sound. Interestingly, the Chrome Soft LS pairs that crisp sound with a feel that’s slightly heavy on the face of a wedge – an unusual combination.
Callaway provides consumers with a comprehensive chart comparing the performance of their three Tour level golf balls. On full wedge shots, Callaway states that the Chrome Soft X will spin more than Chrome Soft or Chrome Soft X LS. On greenside shots, Chrome Soft X is rated as the highest spinning followed by Chrome Soft with Chrome Soft X LS being the lowest spinning of the three.
I was surprised that the chart rated the Chrome Soft X as the highest spinning around the green, but that matched what I saw in my testing. With full or pitch shots, the highest spinning shots with the Chrome Soft X exceeded the others by several hundred RPM. My spin numbers with the Chrome Soft were the most consistent which could be attributed to A) variance with my swing and/or B) the Chrome Soft being “more forgiving” per Callaway. The Chrome Soft LS was the lowest spinning with a wedge, but it was still safely within the range of premium balls.
Callaway’s Chrome Soft comparison chart gets into even more detail about the long game. My overall takeaway is that there’s not a clear, linear progression among the three balls. For example, the Chrome Soft is rated as being slower than the two Chrome Soft X models, but it’s as low spin off the driver as the Chrome Soft X LS. In terms of launch, the Chrome Soft is rated the highest followed by Chrome Soft X LS and then Chrome Soft X. Callaway is also the only OEM that I’m aware of that talks about forgiveness with their golf balls (Chrome Soft is rated most forgiving).
My results varied a bit from Callaway’s predicted performance, which speaks to the importance of trying things for yourself. First, with my swing speed, I did not see a noticeable difference in ball speed between the three balls. This may be something that affects higher speed players or is more noticeable for an extremely consistent driver. Similarly, I did not see a consistent difference in launch angle. When it came to spin, however, I did find the Chrome Soft LS to be as low spinning as any tour ball I’ve tested. For me, the Chrome Soft X spun slightly more and the Chrome Soft slightly more than that.
In my iron testing, I saw small but consistent differences between the three Chrome Soft balls. I got the most spin from the Chrome Soft and the least from the Chrome Soft LS. I would rate all three as being on the lower end of the spin spectrum, relative to other Tour balls. As always, it’s important to note that I’m a low spin player and you may see larger (or different) gaps between these models.
Available in white or yellow, with or without Triple Track, the new Callaway Chrome Soft golf ball family gives players a wealth of choices. From soft to firm, moderate spin to very low, almost any golfer will be able to find a Chrome Soft for their game.